Assessing the seven cities vying for MLS expansion franchises in 2011
Buried amidst the furor over the MLS expansion bids submitted, and those that were not prior to the Tuesday deadline, is some clever wording regarding when the next phase of expansion will take place.
After months of "2011" appearing on every press release and announcement regarding the timeline, no such mention is included in the official announcement regarding the seven bids submitted.
Instead, the next round of expansion is set for "the next few years," and while a
The deadline passed without a bid from the New York Mets. MLS officials have adamantly insisted a second New York team is an attractive option -- after all, does anyone really believe
(This isn't to say Red Bull won't sign a big name to jack up the excitement and the crowds when Red Bull Arena opens. But if MLS wants a superstar in New York it needs a team in New York, as in the city.
Also declining to submit a bid is the Las Vegas group fronted by
Noorzai and "a couple" of those interested in the Crew also are involved with the Las Vegas Sports and Entertainment Group, The Team spokesman
The only investors in Crew Sports Holdings who have been publicly identified are Noorzai and banker
As the potential business partners in Montreal might say, "Eh?"
There's no definite timeline for when the league will announce its expansion plans, either. "An announcement regarding which markets will receive the next two expansion clubs will take place during the fourth quarter of 2008 or the first quarter of 2009," is vague enough and long enough for the league to ponder its next move.
The dizzying pace of expansion is worrying, but the stone-cold facts are that the past few expansion additions are far superior propositions than some of the existing ones. Deep pockets, viable stadium options, and attractive demographics in Toronto FC, Seattle and Philadelphia pushed them to the forefront, and kudos to the Philly group for insisting on natural grass rather than the synthetic stuff in the other two facilities.
None of the Serious Seven will find equaling those groups a simple task. Of the past six additions (counting Real Salt Lake and San Jose), only Chivas USA is lagging. That's a good strike rate. Here's a rundown on the applicants: